Senator believes Australians should have a better idea of the true cost of policy.
Ever wondered how much a certain policy costs you? Well, Senator Leyonhjelm thinks politicians should start explaining themselves in per capita terms, to give you a better idea of the personal cost of legislation.
Malcolm Turnbull is trying to get his ABCC bill through the Senate and, as a result, is having to give concessions to crossbenchers in order to curry their favour.
Senator David Leyonhjelm has won an interesting concession, which because it concerns transparency of government, is one from which all Australians should benefit.
It’s related to how ‘raw numbers’ are presented to the public. A number is referred to as ‘raw’ if there’s nothing to measure it against. Basically, they mean very little.
Senator Leyonhjelm wants next year’s budget to include more per capita numbers “as far as is practically possible”, to give Australians an idea of the personal cost of legislation.
Some examples of raw numbers versus per capita numbers are:
Stopping the boats
Raw numbers: $50 billion over 15 years
Per capita numbers: $140 per person, per year (subject to population growth and inflation)
Marriage equality plebiscite
Raw numbers: $160 million
Per capita numbers: $6.60 per person
At Senator Leyonhjelm’s press conference on Monday, The New Daily asked him if he would also demand that the budget be split into “recurrent spending” and “capital investment”, to help expose our real debt and deficit situation.
Capital investment has the potential for financial returns over time, while borrowing to fund recurrent spending does not.
“We didn’t ask for that,” he responded. “If I thought of it I might have.”
Would you like to see the budget presented in per capita terms? Do you think the Senator should have extracted other concessions, such as the differentiating between recurrent and capital investment?